‘Parental guidance is advised’: many parents do not take heed to this cliche seen on many a television or cinema screen before a film, and probably so because of their work schedules.
Sex education in the home is about talking to your children about sex and when I say ‘sex’ I do not mean sperm and eggs but erect penises and vaginas.
This may or may not disenchant them from the forbidden fruit of sex but I would prefer their knowing how sexual intercourse ‘looks like’ from me, instead of a pornographic film or worse, sexual exploration with partners.
My wife and I have already told our children that they have ‘come about’ because I ‘put’ my penis into Mama’s vagina to allow the sperm to later enter the egg.
We will leave the process of sexual arousal to when my children enter puberty. It is also important never to demonise masturbation, as would most parents in general, in Singapore.
Babies and toddlers do explore their genitals and ‘play’ with them, albeit without sexual understanding and knowledge. Prepubescent children fondle their genitals too and many masturbate even to orgasm, male ejaculate notwithstanding.
It is normal and a need physiologically for boys to masturbate because of a build-up of sperm in the testes, exacerbated by a sudden increase in testosterone during puberty. Everything will seem to be about sex and even though he will not tell you, he can be ‘as horny as hell’, pardon the theological pun.
By allowing him to share his sexual feelings and frustrations, it enables him to release some of the tension, even if it is only emotionally. It is worse isn’t it, if he were to release this sexual tension with a partner?
In short, be there for your children. Learn not to judge: I am telling myself too, and listen. Put yourself in their shoes.
Be the best friend to them. Strive to be that first person with whom your child will share his problems and feelings instead of his friends.
Adolescent mischief would then be very unlikely and even if it occurs, it will either be short-lived or more easily solved or helped.